Accessible facilities for football fans
Those with limited mobility enjoy full and varied lives, made possible by technology, appropriate facilities and positive thinking. Enjoying a variety of hobbies ensures engagement and stimulation within their communities, but this is not always possible. This has been the case with one of Britain’s most popular sports- football. The Premier League has been under fire in the last couple of years due to lacking the appropriate facilities for its disabled fans.
The charity Mencap first drew attention to the lack of facilities back in 2015 and Premier League Clubs agreed to a pledge that should be completed by August 2017. This pledge is meant to increase wheelchair spaces and upgrade ordinary or accessible toilets to larger and more appropriately equipped ‘changing places toilets’ which welcome a whole host of disabilities. Changing Places Toilets are becoming more common, though not quickly enough, due to the inclusivity of the space. With 938 Changing Place Toilets across the UK they stop those who need adult changing facilities from being in contact with unsanitary floors as this is often the only option.
Though there are fears this 2015 pledge will not be met by the required date, seven of the Premier League Clubs have made the necessary changes, installing ramps or lifts where stairlifts are not viable and improving the quality of bathroom facilities available. In response to the lack lustre performance by other clubs, Mencap has produced ‘changing places toilet league’ to rate the facilities currently available at the other clubs’ grounds.
Other Football League clubs have taken note of the dissatisfaction currently held against the Premier League Clubs that have not yet honoured their pledges and taken matters into their own hands, ensuring their fans’ comfort. Brighton, Chesterfield and Preston clubs have all installed a Changing Place toilet to improve facilities for all their fans.
Image Credit: AnnRos